May is a wonderfully colourful time in the New Forest, the fresh green leaves are opening, some of our woodland areas are adorned with bluebells and our gardens are blooming with bright hues.

With longer days, and two bank holiday weekends, May is perfect for some New Forest outdoor adventures and we’ve some fantastic events to add into this mix.

Take a look at some of our top things to do this May in the New Forest:

BBC Gardeners’ World Spring Fair

Keen gardeners or those seeking horticultural inspiration, should head to Beaulieu for the return of the BBC Gardeners’ World Spring Fair.

Taking place from Friday 3 through to Sunday 5 May, this Spring Fair includes Beautiful Borders and The Hillier Experience packed with planting ideas, and stunning floral displays from top nurseries.

BBC Spring Fair
Image - National Motor Museum Beaulieu

There’s plenty to see and do aside from the fair at Beaulieu as well, including exploring the National Motor Museum, Palace House and the In Focus: Closer to the Edge – Precision Photography by Rick Guest exhibition held in the National Motor Museum.

Check out the seasonal colours at Exbury Gardens

Late spring is one of the best times to visit Exbury Gardens, with vivid pinks, purples and reds on display from the array of azaleas and rhododendrons in the grounds.

On both 2 and 11 May, Exbury Gardens will be running special seasonal spotlight tours where you’ll be led by one of Exbury’s knowledgeable gardening team around the rhododendron and azalea displays (booking strongly advised). If you can’t make the tour dates, then we’d definitely recommend a visit.

Image - Exbury Gardens & Steam Railway

Make a coastal visit

May can be a quieter time of the year for heading to the New Forest’s coastline. Whether you fancy relaxing with an ice cream and soaking up the views from one of our beaches, or you want to try a spot of birdwatching along the Keyhaven Marshes, there’s plenty to see and do here. Why not absorb the fascinating history from the Tudor Hurst Castle, one of King Henry VIII’s chain of artillery defences?

Ride Paultons Park’s newest ride

On 18 May, Paultons Park will be adding a new ride to its family-friendly theme park, Splash Lagoon.

This Jurassic-themed water boat adventure will see you traverse gentle rapids, where you will discover a new species of dinosaur! Great fun for young explorers over 0.9 metres and their grown ups.

Rollercoaster in Lost Kingdom at Paultons Park in the New ForestImage - Paultons Park

Find out more about the New Forest’s fascinating flora and fauna

Whether it’s the birdlife or the invertebrates, you can be sure to find out lots about the New Forest on a guided walk with Wild New Forest.

Perhaps you know the New Forest well, or maybe you are new to the area, whatever the case, take a look at the range of events that Wild New Forest are offering throughout May and join them on a guided walk. Just don’t forget your camera!

Wild New Forest
Image - Wild New Forest

Book a Bank Holiday weekend break to the New Forest

With two bank holiday weekends, make a longer break of it by booking a long weekend here. Take a look at what’s on across the Early May Bank Holiday weekend in one of our latest blog posts.

The Spring Bank Holiday Monday (Monday 27 May) sees the start of Hampshire’s half term, and you can expect plenty going on for children towards the end of the month. We’ll explore this further in a future blog post, so do watch this space!

Accommodation is likely to fill quickly for the bank holiday weekends, so book early to avoid disappointment.

Hurst Castle Coast
Image - Hurst Castle

Plan your visit to the New Forest

You’ll find plenty of information across our website about amazing things to do, walking routes, cycling routes plus places to stay.

Keep your eyes open for other events taking place during May in our events listings, or sign up to our newsletters for regular updates on what’s happening in the forest.